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The Memphis Center for Independent Living Journal


DAY TWENTY-ONE: Long Sunday Steadfastness of the Sit-in.

Third weekend of the TennCare demonstration shows activists tenacity.

Activists sleeping in the governor's office.(NASHVILLE, July 10, 2005) The sit-in at Tennessee Governor Phil Bredesen’s office is stretching into its fourth week tomorrow at 10:00 am. Although much of the news over the past two weeks have linked the frustration of the TennCare enrollees to the revelations of the Grier case, the sit-in is distinctly different and will continue after Judge Nixon’s ruling if the governor fails to meet the protestor’s demands.

Stan Davidson who spent most of the weekend at the sit-in outside the governor’s door, had to go home for a little while to get some business done. He sees a real turnaround in the general public’s attitude. He said he did a Google search of TennCare before the demonstration began and got around 20,000 results, today he said that number was around 200,000.

“People are getting their flags out,” said Davidson referring to the egalitarian nature of the demonstration, “and the interest and numbers are getting too big for Bredesen to ignore.”

Activists confront Bredesen's staff.Graham Grubb is one of those that will stay the whole weekend outside Bredesen’s office. He is not bothered sleeping on the cold marble floor, but he feels that being locked in makes for two long days and three long nights. The activist’s don’t have a radio or television, only some books that Graham say have become community property.

“I expect to see volunteers come back Monday morning,” said Graham, “to increase our physical presence here and to continue to increase our support.”

The activists share the space with state troopers who guard the governor’s door. In a public relations maneuver, the governor’s staff had claimed that the demonstration was costing taxpayers money to provide some security. The demonstration however is dedicated to peaceful non-violent means and actually require less security. Rather than costing the taxpayers more, citizens see the ploy as Bredesen mismanaging more of the state’s resources.

“The security will peak around the corner every little while,” said Grubb.

-Tim Wheat


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© 2005 Tim Wheat